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'Quick Help' Page: Divorced Catholic Wants To 'Remarry' In The Church

 

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Divorce

'Remarriage'

Spousal Abandonment

Abandoned By Spouse

Marrying in the Church

Getting Married in the Church

Marriage is Indissoluble Until Death

Indissolubility of Marriage

Annulment

Divorced Catholic Wants to Marry Protestant

Divorced Catholic Seeks Mixed Marriage

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Arrow Question / Issue:

"I am a single mother. I am a divorced Catholic. I am also a practicing Catholic and attend Mass regularly with my fiancee who is <Protestant>. We want to get married soon and I am wondering if I have to get my previous marriage annulled before I can re-marry in the Catholic Church. My ex-husband abandoned me years ago."

 

Arrow Answer / Resources:

[click link(s) below, as applicable]

The answer depends upon whether your "first" marriage was valid. If your "first" marriage was valid and your "first" husband is still alive, you are STILL MARRIED and nothing outside of death can change this fact...

"A marriage that is ratum et consummatum can be dissolved by no human power and by no cause, except death." (1983 Code of Canon Law, Can. 1141)

A spousal abandonment, while very unfortunate, does not end a valid marriage, regardless of any "divorce" under civil law that may have followed. The Lord Jesus was very clear that if those who divorce and "remarry" commit adultery...

Lk. 16:18: "Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and the one who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery."

Mt. 5:31-32: "It was also said, 'Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.' But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery."

Mk. 10:2-12: "The Pharisees approached and asked, 'Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?' They were testing him. He said to them in reply, 'What did Moses command you?' They replied, 'Moses permitted him to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her.' But Jesus told them, 'Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother (and be joined to his wife), and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.' In the house the disciples again questioned him about this. [Jesus] said to them, 'Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.'" (emphasis added)

Remember that someone cannot commit adultery unless they are already married. Therefore, one who is "divorced" is actually still married in the eyes of God. However, if your "first" marriage was not valid, then you were never married to begin with and may be free to get married in the Church (although you'd need to contact your parish about an annulment and also about whether or not they would actually allow you to marry a non-Catholic man – assuming of course that he is not already married).

For more on annulments, you might be interested in a user-submitted article here.

For more on divorce, please see here.

For information on "mixed marriages", please see here.


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Marriage (Topic Page)

 

  

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